The cash cattle market declined for the third consecutive week, falling $3.03 in March. Despite lower market prices, traders remain confident with multiple factors pointing to a rebound. Last week’s Cattle on Feed report revealed the cattle supply available to beef packers is shrinking with further contraction expected. The report showed the number of young cattle sent to feedlots last month was 14 percent lower than a year earlier.

Our Monday Market Sentiment panel expects the market to bounce back with an increase of 94 cents to $125.69 per cwt.

The Monday Market Sentiment is a forecast of the upcoming weekly cash trade (5-Area weighted average price) prices reported by the USDA. This week’s prices declined again, down $1.92 from the previous week. Last week the USDA announced that cash trade for the week ending March 22nd was $125.69 per cwt.

A cold start to spring hasn’t help beef demand, but traders are forecasting higher beef prices once grilling season begins and consumers look for the centerpiece of their backyard barbecues. With limited supplies beef retailers must be careful not to price beef so high that consumers select alternatives.

Each week the Cattle Trader Center, on behalf of Vance Publishing, awards a $100 gift certificate from Cabela's to the industry leader whose forecast comes closest to the 5-Area cash trade number reported by the USDA. The most recent winner was Joe Morgan, Poky Feeders.

Join our team of industry professionals to predict this week's cash trade. Click here for contest rules. Click here to register.